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What Are Costa Rica Houses Made Of? (SOLVED)

Another important thing to note is that construction materials are quite different from what most North Americans and Europeans are used to 😎 The homes are made of steel rods, concrete blocks and concrete all according to the anti-seismic codes here 👍 Windows are usually made with aluminum or PVC frames to protect from the humidity. Another thing that comes as a shock to many foreigners is that Costa Ricans, do not use screens in their windows or doors. When working with a developer, screens are usually considered an upgrade. This is a good idea especially if you are in an area that could have insects. [1]
Steel, concrete, and block: The most common construction materials you’ll see used here are structural steel, poured concrete, and cement block. Partly this is out of tradition, partly from climate, partly due to Costa Rica’s character as a seismic zone, and partly from legal and geographic conditions that can do odd things to the pricing and availability of otherwise common materials. You’re almost certain to be able to find these materials available anywhere you build in the country. Their cost, however, is never a sure thing. Global demand for steel has skyrocketed, increasing the local price. Likewise, high energy costs keep pushing up the price of concrete and block. Even so, you’re likely to find that these are the most economical and common construction materials, as well as the ones most familiar to construction workers. [2]
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The casual visitor to San Jose will fail to observe a set of architectural features that might define a uniquely Costa Rican architecture. (Indeed, other than the handful of colonial-style buildings that linger from bygone days—and several modern architectural gems—there are in fact few buildings to arrest the attention of those who are interested in architecture.) That said, foreigners who live here—and real estate brokers—do talk about something they call the Tico home. Although the Tico home continues to be built in rural areas and in the working class neighborhoods of San José, this architectural “style” is loosing favourr among wealthier, educated, and—dare we say it—more sophisticated home purchasers. (last modified 46 days ago by Jerold Belcher from Houston, United States) [3]
Whsad.org also explains that steel, concrete, and block: The most common construction materials you’ll see used here are structural steel, poured concrete, and cement block. Partly this is out of tradition, partly from climate, partly due to Costa Rica’s character as a seismic zone, and partly from legal and geographic conditions that can do odd things to the pricing and availability of otherwise common materials. You’re almost certain to be able to find these materials available anywhere you build in the country. Their cost, however, is never a sure thing. Global demand for steel has skyrocketed, increasing the local price. Likewise, high energy costs keep pushing up the price of concrete and block. Even so, you’re likely to find that these are the most economical and common construction materials, as well as the ones most familiar to construction workers. [4]
30 years ago, construction standards and standards for finishings were quite different between Costa Rica and other countries. Now, however, those standards have been adjusted and the finishing products you find in Costa Rica are similar to the finishings you would find in many homes and condos in the United States. Local buyers of Costa Rican real estate have changed and upgraded their expectations and so the local market has evolved to have the same standards as elsewhere in the world (though much still depends on the location and the lifestyle of the habitants). This change in standards has made houses and condos in Costa Rica more expensive. (revised by Lyndsie Burroughs on May 11, 2020) [5]
As reported by the researchers at ticotimes.net, over the centuries, adobe was replaced with stronger concrete, and recently, even wood – grown scarce – has been replaced as well. Today, almost all new construction in Costa Rica is of steel-reinforced concrete together with other non-traditional materials, such as gypsum, metal roofing and ceramic tile. Meanwhile, since colonization, indigenous and poor builders have continued to use bamboo to build makeshift shacks or temporary shelters. In Costa Rica’s status-conscious society, and throughout most of Latin America, bamboo has been stigmatized as the building material of the poor. Because much of this construction was shoddy and didn’t last, bamboo was unfairly seen as a low-quality building material. Today, Latin American bamboo experts universally bemoan a “cultural bias” against what they see as an almost ideal construction material – one that they hope represents a big part of a future of environmentally sustainable construction. (we give thanks to Kassia Kim for the heads up). [6]

Article References

  1. http://costarica-information.com/about-costa-rica/economy/economic-sectors-industries/real-estate/real-estate-general/construction
  2. http://guidetocostaricarealestate.com/christopher-howards-guide-to-real-estate-in-costa-rica/christopher-howards-guide-to-real-estate-in-costa-rica/chapter-13-buying-a-lot-and-building/building-materials
  3. http://guidetocostaricarealestate.com/christopher-howards-guide-to-real-estate-in-costa-rica/christopher-howards-guide-to-real-estate-in-costa-rica/chapter-3-a-menu-of-real-estate-options-architectural-styles-and-legal-structures-1/architectural-styles/the-tico-home
  4. https://www.whsad.org/teacher-posts/costa-rica-tropical-architecture
  5. https://ticotimes.net/realestate/9-ways-construction-standards-have-changed-in-costa-rica
  6. https://ticotimes.net/2011/09/30/an-unbeatable-building-material-for-costa-rica-stick-to-bamboo
Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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